Event: Super Taikyu Round 2 – Twin Ring Motegi V.1

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耐久 [Taikyu] – Translate the word to English and it becomes ‘Endurance’, or ‘Persistence’.  Both of which are needed in a series like Super Taikyu; where the most average of cars are transformed into octane devouring, tire burning, track monsters for their drivers to tame around the circuit.  A series that pushes both man and machine to the brink of exhaustion; endurance racing at it’s finest.  Now don’t get me wrong – this is no 24 Hours of Nürburgring.  It is, however, grueling in it’s own right – I barely survived photographing it, let alone driving it.  It’s possible that some readers are not familiar with the series, although, they may be familiar with the term ‘Group-N’ racing.  A particular type of motor sport, governed by the FIA, where standard production vehicles are allowed to be slightly modified for competition;  I use the term ‘slightly’ very loosely.  No doubt about it that each and every one of these cars is fully built to be race metal.  The main reason I fell in love with this series is the amount of classes involved and on track at the same time, all racing to be number one in their own right.  In this sense it’s a bit like Le Mans racing, except Super Taikyu has 5 classes.  I’m really excited to share this series with you and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.  Click past the break for more Twin Ring action.

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The second round of Super Taikyu happened to fall on the weekend of ‘Golden Week'; a week long holiday in Japan where just about everyone goes everywhere.  It basically equates to the worst expressway traffic ever.  As a result, we left Tokyo for Motegi early Sunday morning…very early.  Needless to say, when we pulled up to the entrance of Twin Ring, the drive and traffic was well worth it.  You’re hit with that climatic feeling of something great about to happen.  Can anyone point out the typo on the Welcome! sign?  Or, at least, in my opinion is a typo.

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Nestled in between the woodlands of Tochigi, the Honda built Twin Ring is quite a peaceful venue to attend.  It seems to be a very family, and child friendly race track, it’s facilities encouraging the attendance of all ages.  It’s also home to Honda’s Collection Hall – but we’ll have more on that later.  Disregard that this is a sunset haha

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By the time we arrived on scene the cars were headed out for a practice session.  To hear the sound of a tuned engine after sitting in an airplane for 14 hours was like music to my ears.  Beautiful, loud, chest shaking music.

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We took our spot near the end pit, where the Petronas team was stationed for the day.  No Nikon love for these boys…

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It was cool to see each contender pull out of their respective garages and roll out for their practice runs.  It gave you a good idea of just how diverse this series is.  To add to that, in an effort to increase the exchange of the Asian market, a new GT3 class is allowed to race along the ST participants.  These are, at the moment, primarily European cars.

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EVO’s have always been privy to Group N racing, and there is no exception here.  This was one of a handful in the race on Sunday; it might actually be the only one that survived actually.  I’ll have to double check.

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Another GT3 category pair – the Petronas Mercedes.  There’s no doubting the success of any series the Petronas Race Team has their hands in; it’s almost a guaranteed win. Especially in series with multiple amateur and self-funded teams.

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Not a bad place to sit if you ask me.  Cool shoes!

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Another GT3 entrant in the form of the Kondo Racing Nismo GT-R.  Kondo actually teamed up with Nissan Automobile Technical College for this project and allowed students to work in the pit’s at Twin Ring for some hands on experience.  Sign me up!

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A car that needs no introduction; although it could use a little luck.  The Spoon team hasn’t been having the best season…

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We were walking around the back of the garages a bit before the race started and checking out the goings on.  A lot of teams had their tires and wheels laid out outside and we happened to notice some really cool features on the Spoon wheel.  The custom blue and yellow trim along the rim was pretty cool.  It’s all about the details.

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Cruising out of the pits was the Sturm Motul Impreza.  It was humorous to watch the cars lurch back after hitting the speed limiter in the pits.  It’s as if they wanted to go full throttle but someone kept pulling them back on a leash.  The STi was upset at this I’m sure.

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Overtaking is abundant due to the fact that all classes run at the same time, for the same amount of time.  Points are scored by time and laps completed.  The Dixcel EVO need not worry about this because it ended up completely blowing it’s engine about half way through.  I was on the other side of the hairpin when it happened but boy was it loud.  I haven’t got that far yet but I may have gotten a crappy picture of it.

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The Tracy Sports Lexus was a pretty sweet car.; one that you wouldn’t necessarily envision on the race track if you saw it driving down the street.  Really, I think that’s the purpose of Group N.  The whole point of Super Taikyu is to glorify the fact that any can purchase a sports car, and with little modifying, can increase it’s performance for track use.

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Makers Racing and their Z34 were looking good on the first out laps.

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WS Engineering S2000 competing in the ST4 class.

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What’s this? A Porsche? Don’t worry it has Bride seats so it’s all good.  The Xpel 911 competing in the ST1 class did not actually fair to well in the race; but it sure looked good.

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It didn’t take long for the rubber to start pilling up on the side of each corner on the hot Spring day.  Teams made the final adjustments to each car towards the end of practice, and the cars started to fall back to the pits to prepare for the green flag.  I’ll leave it at that for now, because it’s 3am and I have to wake up in 3 hours to go shoot WekFest in Long Beach.  There’s something about WekFest and me staying up late the night before…it never fails.  I just got back from a little Miata gathering in City of Industry – a pre-KINDO meet if you will.  Stay tuned for more from Japan and LA!  Thanks for visiting.

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